All too often, magistrates will their power in bringing criminals to justice. They are perceived as ruthless, unrelenting and in extreme cases inhumane. But one magistrate in a Mombasa court changed the narrative when he showed compassion to a young lass that was caught shoplifting.
The Senior Resident Magistrate Patrick Odhiambo went ahead to hold an impromptu fundraiser to compensate for two hair weaves she had stolen from a Mtwapa supermarket. He requested those present in the courtroom to voluntarily contribute at least Ksh100 which will go toward recompensing the supermarket after the victim pleaded guilty.
19-year-old Ms Chelagat had shoplifted two good looking weaves worth Ksh1140, out of peer pressure to look classy like her mates who wear them often, and that poverty had subjected her to stealing so she could dress up and look nice like everyone else.
“I wanted to look beautiful like other women. So, I went to the supermarket, looked around and saw the weaves that my friends often wear. Upon looking at the price tag, I was heartbroken that I couldn’t afford the two pieces. Left with no other choice, I stole the products.
“I was raised in poverty. When I came to town, I would see women sporting good hair and wearing quality make-up. I have tried to look as beautiful as my friends, but lack of money makes that impossible,” Chelagat admitted before the court.
A sympathetic lawyer cashed out a whole, Ksh2, 000 to rescue the woman from serving a 2-year jail term for the offence or otherwise she could be forced to part with a whooping Ksh 50,000 as fine for her crime.